All hail Jennifer Lopez, queen of the rom-com. The multi-talented singer and actress is back in fine form in Marry Me, a throwback to the early 2000s romantic comedies we know and love. Truly refreshing—in more ways than one—Marry Me is an utterly charming movie that will win over even the most jaded of movie watchers.
Borrowing from the Notting Hill playbook of “famous woman meet-cutes with regular guy”, Marry Me sets the literal stage with a wedding. Superstar singer Kat Valdez (Lopez) is ready to say “I do” to fellow music star Bastian (Maluma) in front of not just a concert hall of fans, but 20 million viewers around the world. When she gets wind of his unfaithfulness mere moments before taking the stage, a distraught Kat has a “meltdown” and agrees to marry a random guy in a windbreaker (Owen Wilson) in her audience.
Sick of being punchline fodder for late-night TV hosts, the thrice-divorced Kat and her new husband, math teacher Charlie, agree to get to know one another while keeping up appearances just long enough for the media to move on.
Naturally, anyone who has ever seen a romantic comedy knows how this story will play out, but thanks to Lopez’s dynamic performance and Wilson’s charms, Marry Me is more than worth a watch despite the foregone conclusion.
While the material may be a bit personal for Lopez—she has been thrice married and thrice divorced and lived through many break-ups and hook-ups in the public eye—there is something here that almost feels like a peek into what she’s been through behind the scenes. And it only serves to make her more endearing to audiences.
Also refreshing here is the fact that the film has paired a woman who is “north of 35” with an age-appropriate man. This isn’t a rom-com about an awkward 20-something trying to find her first real relationship or even the story of a successful thirty-something who can’t figure out why she keeps failing in love. This is a real story about second (or third, or fourth) chances at love from a mature couple, even if neither star looks remotely like anyone you know in their 50s.
Much like Notting Hill, we also really get a chance to understand what a world-famous superstar might see in this math teacher. He’s romantic, funny, dependable, and shuns social media. As a divorced dad, Charlie knows he can’t offer Kat the fabulous life she’s accustomed to, but what he can offer, money can’t buy.
Perhaps the most important part of casting Lopez in Marry Me is that we get nine new JLO bops out of it. The lead single “Marry Me” with Maluma is catchy, as are the other numbers viewers are treated to. More than just a vehicle for new JLo music, the songs fit the vibe Marry Me is selling, seamlessly blending into the narrative.
While the script may not reach the echelons of Nora Ephron with a few plot details and bits of dialogue that feel slightly contrived, Marry Me is nevertheless one of the best romantic comedies we’ve seen since the (albeit funnier), Trainwreck.
Marry Me lands in theatres on February 11.